Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Practical Tip #2: Make Use of Spacesavers

I’ve heard it said many times before that you don’t get to choose your family.  Along the same lines, you don’t get to choose your birthday.  However, if I could choose, I would keep it right where it is, almost smack in the middle of the year.  Being born around Memorial weekend not only means celebrating my birthday at the beach on the opening weekend of Summer (thanks Mom and Dad!), but also being on the flip side of the year of Christmas as far as getting gifts.  As an avid gardener, this also means that I can get my “wishlist” of gardening supplies for Mother’s Day AND my birthday just in time for Summer growing.  Double the fun!  I know, I know, my birthday is still more than 2 months away, but a girl can dream!  So, with the catalogs pouring in (see my previous blog) and gardening season fast approaching, I’ve fallen in love with the Gardener’s Supply Company catalog  It contains all the goodies and gadgets to keep my hobby fun and easy.  Of course, some of the items are beyond our birthday budget, like the $600 three-tiered Sunlite Garden for growing seeds.  The great part is that there’s something in there for every budget.  With space being an issue in most gardens, I’m particularly fascinated by the cucumber trellis.  Last year, I tried growing cucumbers upright with tomato cages.  It actually worked quite well!  My garden was less covered with Medusa-like vines and the cucumbers were just as delicious.  This year, I hope to find a trellis (hint hint) on Mother’s Day or on my birthday.  Happy growing!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Practical Tip #1: Always Include Your Kids

Practical Tip #1:  Always include your kids
The garden is my home away from home.  It’s where I can go to relieve stress, dream, exercise, and escape the to-do list inside the house.  As much as I’d love to keep the garden all to myself, I’m a firm believer in involving the kids in the growing process from start to finish.  Yesterday, February 27th, my youngest son and I planted our first seeds of broccoli, romaine, and sage.  The sage will be saved for later.  The broccoli and romaine we’ll transplant to the garden on St. Patty’s Day.  Alex is my budding gardener (no pun intended) and loves to be a part of the process.  Although statistics show that a child who grows veggies is more likely to eat them, he defied the stats and never tasted one last year.  However, he did take seeds, grow them into veggies, and donate them to the local food bank…a lesson much greater than a few consumed nutrients.  On the other hand, my oldest son who watched from afar, tried the veggies from the garden since they were homegrown.  So whether they’re watching or helping, always include the kids.  You’ll reap your own harvest one way or another in childrearing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hidden Promises

Lying beneath the soil are hidden promises of pink, yellow, purple, red, and orange.  The promise might be tall or small, large or small, fragrant or not, and it is there just waiting for the right time.  I'm talking about the flower bulbs planted in a distant season (maybe many years ago) that reappear at just the right time.  They have no timer on them, no expiration date, and no on/off button.  However, at just the right time, they push through the ground and begin their beautiful show of flowering the landscape.  A bulb is really a gardener's dream!  After hard work of planting the bulbs, a gardener then just sits back and waits for the bulbs to do their magic, year after year.  The reward is not seen until a later date when they're almost forgotten.  Following the coldness of winter, as we're all longing for a taste of spring, out pops the first crocuses and the beginning of daffodils.  Regardless of how many more snowfalls or "cold snaps" may still surprise us through early spring, we know that warmer days are really just around the corner.  No special groundhog is needed to know that winter is ending when the first bulb bursts through the soil.  It is a hidden promise, which repeats each year, at just the right time.  The bulb is God's way of showing us that life continues, He's in control, and the "winter seasons" in our life will always come to an end with a beautiful display that only He can provide.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Propped Rose

I received a dozen beautiful roses the week before Valentine's day from my husband.  They sat in a vase where I could admire them until I thought to pull one out and put it on my window sill above the kitchen sink.  With one on the sill, I could always see a rose while working in the kitchen.  If you're a Mom, you know there is plenty of time spent in the kitchen...prepping, cooking, cleaning, repeat!  So this single rose was propped in a small repurposed Orangina glass bottle on the sill where I saw it many more times than the other 11 across the room.  As time passed, the other roses had flopped over and were thrown away.  It was just today that I realized this rose, which looked vibrant and strong, was actually just propped up by the bottle lip.  And so it is with us that we're often propped up by our support systems in life to continue on until we find our own strength.  Aim today to be someone's support and find a way to prop them up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Life is Like...

Life is like a packet of never know what you're gonna get!  Last year, I began my planting season on St. Patty's Day after learning that there were "cold weather crops" and I didn't have to wait for Summer plantings.  Those vegetables (radishes, loose-leaf lettuce, snap peas, and broccoli) did great.  I had no idea that the Summer crops would bring a few surprises.  Among the many veggies I planted, I also decided to grow "dwarf sunflowers" to attract bees and sage for my cooking.  I carefully followed the packet instructions for depth, watering, light, etc.  After weeks of nurturing, I transplanted them to the garden and continued the nurturing.  To my surprise, the sunflowers all grew to their expected height of 4 feet except for one mutant plant that grew past 8 feet!  I was shocked.  The trunk itself was wider than a baseball bat!  As for the sage, those seeds were also not as planned.  I nurtured and watched my seeds grow in to a full pot of WEEDS!  Those plants that I transplanted were nothing more than an original packet of weed seeds. 

It is much like our relationships in life.  We start a friendship, or maybe even just cross paths with someone and hope to connect again.  After a time of nurturing that friendship, we're sometimes surprised when we look back and see that those that we thought would be mere acquaintances, are really the giant beautiful sunflower (far beyond our expectations).   Some friends, despite the care given, disappear like weeds.  However, the latter is not sad.  In the process of raising that small seed of a friendship, the end result does not take away from the life we poured in to it, and that somewhere along the way, they found their friend, and we ourselves also grew.  I'm ready for this year's seeds...both in garden and life.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Catalogs of Hope

The mailman is my messenger of Spring these days.  He brings me gardening, seed, and plant catalogs right to my doorstep.  They offer the promise of hope that Winter will soon be ending!  Although it has been one of the mildest Winters on record in the past 50 years (for the Northeast, at least), I still long for my 4'x6' plot of dirt and all that awaits it after the danger of frost has past!  As I read through the newest catalog, my youngest son Alex jumps in my lap.  He has inherited my thrill of the garden and was my part-time helper last year.  He was just as excited with every turn of the page as we both longingly looked at all the flowers, all the plants, and all the colors available for each!  The only thing that could perfect the catalog-viewing experience is a scratch-and-sniff section.  Oh, if only there was a scratch and sniff page, then we would really be ready for Spring!